Sara Agony Autie
Autistic Presenter and Advocate
It’s a myth that autism is a male only or male dominated neurology. Autistic females and those assigned as women may have learnt to “hide in plain sight”; being obsessed with ponies or glitter is not in the diagnostic criteria, whereas a fixation with wheels or trains is. It means that unfortunately, millions of autistic women and gender fluid individuals have been missed from early studies which focused heavily on male autistic participants only.
It’s not uncommon for autistic women and those assigned females at birth to be late diagnosed. Myself being born in 1986, I was only recognised autistic at the age of 27. It has taken me years to accept that, yes, I am autistic! And my whole life suddenly made sense. I went unrecognised, as do many who can “mask” and hide their Autisticness through life. But masking is what led me to burn out, from burn out to suicidal depression and from there finally the recognition that I was autistic all along. It’s a long and difficult process to awaken to what was there all along - you are valid and it may take time to accept who you are and always have been. Look to Autistic bloggers and speakers online for community and identity.
As an Autistic with perpetually low self-esteem, I’ve only learnt that “self-love” is not selfish. I took the term Narcissist; to love oneself, quite literally as a child and vowed to never become vain. I love my opposition; that I never give up despite wanting to in my most overwhelming moments. I love the love I have for my son; the way it pours out of my chest, heart and throat towards him, as if it were itself a hug without the need for touch. I love the little details in life. I love I can appreciate them once more.
I started Agony Autie to change how Autistic people are perceived, mainly for my son Frank. He is autistic, is speech apraxic and I’ll be damned if he finds himself filled with shame, doubt and lack of hope the way so many Autistics and Neurodivergent People do today. We have many challenges as a community that we face. Our health and mental health are woefully neglected and that is reflected in the rare research funded to end our pain. Instead, we face cure narratives instead of holistic support as individuals. I hope my little channel counteracts this foul narrative of pathology and instead helps contribute to autistic visibility, autistic connectivity and acceptance that autistic people are here and here to stay!